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General News of Friday, 5 April 2019


Stakeholders call for support for Journalists reporting on Migration

Stakeholders have called for support for Journalists reporting on migration-related issues to enhance their skills and capacity to produce in-depth stories on the situation.

The Journalists, when empowered with the necessary skills and support, can dig deeper to bring out the necessary evidence needed to tackle the issues of irregular migration, which has bedevilled the West African sub-region in recent years.

These were some of the recommendations that came up at a one-day Lessons Learnt Workshop held in Accra as part of the project titled: “Media Training and Public Sensitisation on Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Migrants’ Rights”.

The workshop, under the project jointly funded by the European Union and ECOWAS Commission and organised by FMM West Africa, Media Response with partners, including the Ministry of Information, Ghana Journalists Association, Ghana News Agency, Information Services Department, Ghana Independent Broadcasters’ Association, and the Migration Media Network.

Mr Samuel Dodoo, the Executive Director of Media Response, said the workshop had been held in three other regions, thus, Western, Ashanti, and Northern regions to ascertain from journalists the lessons learnt over the past two years, when the project started in the country.

He said as part of project, up to 80 journalists have been trained in investigative journalism and the use of social media, mobile apps and designing public media campaign messages on free movement and migration in the four project implementing regions.

He urged journalists to take up the role of migration reporting to ensure that the canker was dealt with to the core, looking at the various push and pull factors responsible for the thriving of irregular migration.

Mr Dodoo said as the project, which started in May 2017, was about to end, there would be an award ceremony on May 3, 2019, to motivate journalists who had remained dedicated to the cause of irregular migration among the Ghanaian youth.

Mrs Linda Asante-Agyei, the Vice-President of the Ghana Journalists Association speaking at the workshop commended the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) for providing technical support towards training journalists under the project.

She said training for journalists was significant as reporting on migration was a very sensitive area that journalists needed to increase their knowledge to enable them to report accurately on migration.

“As journalists, we play a critical role in shaping public perception of migration, you, therefore, need such a training to equip you with the relevant information so you can effectively report, since migration has both positive and negative consequences, which at the end of the day affect almost all sectors of the economy”.

She called on sponsors to consider extending the project, which ends in May, this year, to enable other journalists in the other regions to receive such training.

Participants at the workshop included journalists from various media houses, IOM, National; Population Council and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), among others.

They recommended the need for security cover for journalists, who would be following up on migration stories.

The recommendations also identified the need for CSOs to support journalists undertaking migration reporting and also urged journalists to probe deeper into stories of victims of irregular migration to bring out all the facts.